The Reason Why

Riley paced the length of Buffy's small dorm room and, where she would have once made him stop and tried to calm him down, she now just watched. His temper wasn't her issue anymore.

He paced it out for a long while before looking up at her – even while still moving.

"You're doing this now?" he said, shaking his head. "I can't believe it's now."

Buffy shrugged. She knew this was hard on him, and that that should bother her, but she was just so… done with it all. Forcing herself to fall into the role of dutiful girlfriend had been exhausted, and she just couldn't do it a second longer. Hence the breakup.

Riley stopped dead in front of her and she inwardly groaned. Was he actually expecting her to answer that? She'd tried really, really hard. She had.

Sure, she should have realized things were doomed from the beginning and just refused to try it out but - hey! She did do that, and he was the one who talked her round. Simple fact is: you can't force yourself to love someone. Or un-love someone, an errant part of her mind reminded her.

She shook her head.

"Just tell me why," Riley demanded.

This time when Buffy groaned, it wasn't just in her head. "I told you why. Many times, actually. You just wouldn't listen the first two-dozen."

"No," said Riley.

Buffy stood up, ready to physically kick him out if she had to. "No?" she repeated, her hands automatically going to her hips. "What do you mean no? Riley, this isn't a discussion. I just can't-"

"No," he said again. "Not the bullshit reasons not to be with me."

Buffy rankled. It wasn't bullshit and he knew it, but there was no way she was gonna re-run that part of the argument again. It had already gone on too long. Just when was he gonna get to the point and have done with it?!

"What, then?" she asked, half yelling in her exasperation. She'd experienced apocalypses less tedious.

"I wanna know why," Riley stated, ever the broken record. But before Buffy lost the last of her patience entirely, he elaborated.

"You're breaking up with me," he said.

The Slayer clenched her jaw, biting back a jibe about being Captain Obvious as well as Captain Cardboard.

"It's because I can't keep up with you. Because I'm too normal for you."

That hadn't been exactly what she'd said, but it was the crux of it. Where she'd normally have repeated her reasons to display them in the best possible light she just nodded and said, "Yeah, so?"

"So, you told me, once – one of those times when you insisted I was enough for you, you remember doing that?"

Now Buffy's fists clenched along with her jaw. "The point, Riley?"

His brow furrowed, and she could just feel him silently reprimanding himself for getting lost on the way to the point – AGAIN.

"You said that if you wanted someone with superpowers, you'd be dating Spike."

Wow. Okay. That was not what she expected to hear. Like, at all. But she'd run with it. "So?" she asked again.

"So why aren't you with him?"

It was with this final question that he left her alone. Buffy had been so caught off guard by Riley voicing a question she'd asked herself literally thousands of times, that she didn't even notice him go.

Grabbing up her jacket, she too left the dorm.

Heading towards the crypt she'd become very familiar with, recently, she reminded herself that there were no certainties with the Vampire within. There was a big, big question mark over Spike but, finally, she was ready to ask.